Wisconsin Historical Library Struck by Rare Book Theft

MADISON, Wis. -- A man smashed a display case at the Wisconsin Historical Society to steal a Revolutionary War-era book worth $5,000, authorities say.

Matthew Brooke, 26, was charged Friday with felony theft of library materials and criminal damage to property. He went to the Historical Society on Thursday, according to a criminal complaint, and smashed the window on a second-floor antique display case with his elbow. He allegedly swiped the "Pennsylvania Evening Post" from inside the case.

The book is a collection of the newspaper's issues dating from January to April 1777.

A police officer found the book stuck in the waistband of Brooke's pants, the complaint said. Brooke told detectives he took the book because he wanted to read a story on page 106 about a historical figure named William Hill.

(c) 2005 Associated Press

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